We sat down with Yankees pitching coordinator Danny Borrell for a Q&A session to discuss the mid-level pitching prospects.

We sat down with Yankees' minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell for a Q&A session. In part three of this multi-part series we get his take on the debut of Chance Adams and just how big his ceiling is, how Chaz Hebert has improved, if Jordan Montgomery saw his stuff progress, how Dietrich Enns looked in his return from injury, and much, much more!.

PinstripesPlus.com: Chance Adams pitched in Tampa too.  He's the helium prospect it seems. He seems to be moving awfully fast.

Borrell: Yes he is and hopefully he'll continue to do the same. Obviously we are extremely excited to have this kid. He was very reminiscent of [Jacob] Lindgren coming out of college. He pitched in the middle relief role, late relief, anywhere from one inning to three and two thirds. That's probably where he was the most valuable in college and as you can tell we started giving him more innings as he went along. He has an elite fastball, elite breaking balls, and a Major League average changeup right now.

PinstripesPlus.com: And he throws strikes too.

Borrell: Oh yeah I forgot that part. He gets swings and misses on everything and he throws strikes too.

PinstripesPlus.com: Is there a Corey Black comparison here with Adams?

Borrell: Yeah but he's much bigger than Corey. I actually just saw Corey out in the [Arizona] Fall League. Chance is 6-foot-1 but he's a solid as can be. I don't know if he's stronger than Adam Warren because Adam is very strong but same body type as Adam.

PinstripesPlus.com: Adams is a guy I'm assuming is going to be a starting pitcher going forward given his repertoire?

Borrell: Yeah he's going to get some innings. He's going to be pushing us quite a bit I'm sure. He's got a very, very high ceiling.

PinstripesPlus.com: Is it possible to have a better season returning from surgery than Dietrich Enns had this year?

Borrell: I don't think so.

PinstripesPlus.com: The numbers say he's the same guy that hew as before the surgery. Was he the same guy?

Borrell: The only difference was he was not as firm with his fastball but I'm not concerned with that at all just because of the way his fastball is finishing. He topped out at 92 mph but there's more in there. I've seen it and it's certainly going to be back next year. This is a kid who has worked tirelessly to get back to where he was. Gosh, he gave up like four runs in 60 innings I believe between the GCL and Tampa. So yeah, I don't think you can ask for a better return than that.

PinstripesPlus.com: How are the secondary pitches?

Borrell: The slider is there. We actually introduced a curveball for him just for the main purpose of getting that slider a little bit more comfortable and a little more confident with that. He did a nice job. He was able to throw that curveball earlier in counts and did that at Instructional League. The slider shape is there. I can't wait for next year because I know he's going to work hard and he's going to come back and put together those same numbers that we saw in Charleston the year before so good for him..

PinstripesPlus.com: We're talking about all of these pitchers coming back from injury and pitching well -- Frare, Enns, and even Encinas because he didn't get a whole lot of innings last year -- Giovanny Gallegos is another guy who pitched well after being hurt last year. He was a legit prospect before he got hurt. Is he back to where he was?

Borrell: No he was more than what he was in terms of velocity, in terms of breaking ball and changeup. He may have found a little niche for himself out of the bullpen. He fills the zone and he was up to 95-96 mph. There were games he'd average 94 mph and just has an innate ability to throw strikes with every pitch he throws. He did a great job in Tampa and did the same thing up in Double-A as well. I look for the same thing next year.

PinstripesPlus.com: How are the curveball and changeup? Is he still throwing the changeup now that he's pitching out of the bullpen?

Borrell: Yeah he's throwing it. He's throwing the fastball, curveball and slider too. He can vary the shape of his breaking ball. It was just fun to watch him all year.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Chaz Hebert because like Joey Maher he was down at the lower levels for a couple of years and maybe the fans got a little stale from hearing about him for a while about the potential he had but he's showing it now. He always had the ceiling -- is he starting to tap that ceiling?

Borrell: Yeah. Obviously he's always thrown strikes and this year just got the opportunity to throw more innings. From the get-go we all knew it was in there and he certainly did it. I mean heck, he's an All Star in the [Arizona] Fall League. It's been a great year for him. His fastball is up to 91-92 mph but you keep hearing me talk about this deception and he's got it. The fastball has some life and some cut to it, and he commands it. These guys do not put good swings on his fastball so regardless if it registers 89 mph or not, these hitters are seeing it a lot firmer than that. He's got a nice little curveball up to the mid-70s. We're working on the slider. He and 'Rosie' are really doing that out in the Fall League and Tommy [Phelps] did a great job working with him on that as well. That cutter just devastates righties too and of course [he has] his changeup. He's a pitch-ability lefty with the ability to get stronger.

PinstripesPlus.com: I thought and opined quite publicly that Jonathan Holder was a big-time 'sleeper' prospect entering the season and he went out and had a big year. Talk about Holder. It seems like everyone of his pitches moves.

Borrell: Yes it does. Obviously with his pedigree coming out of college we knew the performance was going to be there and he got to do it out of the rotation this year. He battled some shoulder fatigue a couple of times throughout the season but it was a great season for him. The fastball, a little slower curveball, and a devastating slider that he picked up at Instructs last year. That's his big swing and miss pitch and he has a nice changeup that he throws to lefties and righties. Good kid, hard worker, great season.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to Jordan Montgomery, another pitcher who had mild 'sleeper' potential but really came into his own this year. He wasn't exactly a power pitcher though despite his bigger frame. Is he still mostly 88-92 mph and in particular how is the breaking ball coming along?

Borrell: You would not recognize this kid if you saw him in August. The entire month of August he was 91-94 mph and averaging 91-92 mph every game. Tommy Phelps and him did some great work just trying to alter some of his shoulder mechanics in terms of how he was going to load towards the plate and he was able to use his legs a little bit more. Because of that his curveball is just as good as his changeup now. Another kid, like Holder, who just pitched great the entire season but he got stronger as the year went. He's going to be another kid to watch next year.

PinstripesPlus.com: Let's talk about Luis Niebla. A year ago it was Cesar Vargas who was a solid starter who upticked in the bullpen and this year you had both Gallegos and Niebla, guys that were once promising starting pitchers who really found a niche in the bullpen. Is he kind of like Gallegos?

Borrell: Yeah, very similar. They're actually really good friends too. He's another guy who has the ability to get it up to 96 mph. He bounced back and forth between starting and relieving and I think he found a little niche as a reliever late. He's a guy who hit a little lull at the end of the season but he's got fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, and he uses all four out of the bullpen. We're just going to try to get him more consistent in terms of letting it loose every outing. When he does he throws strikes and hopefully he'll do the same thing next year.

PinstripesPlus.com: Another guy who was shifted to the bullpen and found a lot of success is Evan Rutckyj. I'm sure you guys have been waiting for him to come along. Everyone knew he had the really big arm, the tireless work ethic, and everyone was just waiting for him to blossom. Is he finally blossoming?

Borrell: Yeah. It was great for him. I've been around him since he signed and we all knew it was in there, and this year he finally let it loose. He's 93-95 mph with a knockout curveball. He just started throwing it this year too. He just threw it one time and it was like 'alright, you're throwing it now' because it's filthy. It gets swing and misses to lefties and righties, and his changeup, which used to be his best pitch, is now his third best pitch. Again, you can't say enough about what Tommy [Phelps] has done with him. The kid works his tail off and he's got a chance to pitch for us out of the bullpen next year.


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